Networking at the London Screenwriters’ Festival

We are just days away from the hugely anticipated London Screenwriters’ Festival and people have been putting together some great guides on how to make the best of the event.

There will be some great and insightful events this weekend, the timing couldn’t be better with the future of film-making being a hot-topic at the moment. But one of the key components to having a successful festival really is your attitude to networking.

This post isn’t going to list all the things you need to bring, say or do. That’s been done brilliantly elsewhere. This is more about making sure you don’t make the mistakes I saw a few people make at Cheltenham last year by viewing everyone as either important or unimportant when put in a face-to-face situation.

You could virtually see people lose interest immediately in other writers when they found out they weren’t a producer or a director. I think I overheard someone say, “sorry, I’m looking for a producer” and walk away. You will achieve nothing with this approach. Most of the people you will meet are going to be writers, a lot of them new. This can be even more of an opportunity than finding a producer.

Take last year, for example. As a new writer I went to the festival and meet loads of writers. The ones I saw the most and kept in touch with where just the ones I got on with the most. I didn’t put any extra value on people, I just wanted to make friends with people that also write. One of these people was an American who shared an interest with the website development and football. I knew very little of his writing experience, we just had a laugh.

Quite a few months later he contacted me and we worked on a website together. Bonus. Soon after he contacted me again and said, “Chris Jones and I are getting a team together to create a huge event called The London Screenwriters’ Festival. Do you want to head the website team?” It was David Chamberlain, of course.

Since then, I’ve worked on a few things with Oscar short-listed Chris Jones who I had previously admired from a far as a fan of his blog and film Gone Fishing. Another person I kept in touch with won Scriptapalooza this year and yet another won best screenplay at the British Horror Film Festival.

How is it not a good thing to have met these people?

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One response to “Networking at the London Screenwriters’ Festival

  1. Good advice! I’ve also found that the best contacts have come through just getting along with people who have a common interest rather than aggressively searching for that one person who can make your project. I’ve also been on the other end of those people who lose interest and walk away on hearing you’re a writer and it’s just not very pleasant. Can’t make it to the festival this year unfortunately but I’m looking forward to hearing how it went.

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